"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb." Psalms 19:10
Imagine that you are a prospector searching for gold in the Nevada mountains. You’re kneeling in the pure water of a shallow stream. With your wide, saucer-shaped pan you scoop up sand and pebbles from the stream bottom. Slowly, shake the pan in a side-to-side rhythm. The wet contents gently slip back into the clear water. The pan is nearly empty when you see it. Trying to contain your emotion you move the pan ever more carefully until you know it is the real thing; a huge gold nugget! You pick it up and examine it closely. It is real! You’ve discovered gold!
Well, back to reality! You’re not a prosecutor and you probably will never discover gold in Nevada or anywhere else. You feel disappointed, but here’s some good news: You can discover something more valuable than gold. What is it? Principles. That’s right. Principles.
A principle is a central truth of God’s Word. It is fundamental to the way God wants us to live. It is an underlying, essential truth upon which we can make proper decisions, build our lives and enjoy the blessings of God through obedience to its teaching. Out of each principle, other truths are derived. It is like a rich vein containing countless nuggets. To discover a principle is to discover an unlimited source of spiritual wealth. Mining from it will make you rich in the things of God.
Here is how you can discover God’s principles:
LEARN TO IDENTIFY PRINCIPLES:
The Bible is full of truths. But not every truth is a principle. The best way to understand this is to take a good look at a Scripture passage which reveals one of God’s principle. An excellent example is in Galatians 6:7,8. These verses say: Ga 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Ga 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
In these two sentences, God tells us a lot. But there is a central theme to what He has to say. That central theme is the principle of sowing and reaping.
The principle says simply: What you sow (spiritually), you will reap (spiritually). Everything in these verses underscores this one basic truth. You can probably see this principle very clearly. This principle works in nature. You sow beans you do not reap corn. You get beans. You will reap exactly what you have sown. It is impossible for the opposite to occur, for God has so ordered the physical world. He has established definite physical laws governing the physical realm and definite spiritual laws governing the spiritual realms. These spiritual laws are His principles.
"Things change." Principles are eternal and unchanging. Things may change from the examples given in the Bible events, but the principles are unchanging. The customs may change but the principles behind the customs do not change.
What we need to ask to identify God’s principles is : What is the main thing God is saying?
(What is the underlying basic truth He is communicating?) Every time you read God’s Word, search for an answer to this basic question?
Sometimes the truth is right on the surface, sometime the verse only gives a "nugget" and sometimes you really have to search for the truth, but it’s there if you study and dig it out.
Therefore every message that is presented by the Pastor and Teacher, there is a truth established and a principle to be applied in our Christian life. You should in a sentence or two establish the truth and the principle. On your notes you should write down that truth and principle and begin to work it out in your life.
A TRUTH is God’s Word about something, and the PRINCIPLE is the way in which we can see it work out in reality.
When you discover one of God’s principles, you have found something really valuable. Don’t lose it. Perhaps you have heard of the old prospector who found a fabulously rich vein of gold in the western United States, back in the day of the great old gold rush. He became so excited that he ran off hurriedly to stake his claim. In his excitement he forgot to mark the spot of his discovery. When he returned from the assay office, he couldn’t relocate the place of his big find. Every crack in the mountain looked the same to him. Often, this same thing happens to Christians who discover God’s principles. They fail to mark the spot, and when they return to a portion of God’s Word to dig out more spiritual truth, they can’t find the "vein" God revealed to them.
There are several essential steps to take after discovering a Biblical principles. FIRST: mark your Bible in the exact place of your discovery. Your discovery marker can be a star, an asterisk, or any other simple mark you prefer, a highlighter would be good. Below the "discovery marker," write a key word or phrase which identifies the principle. SECOND: write a brief description of the principle. Carefully select the wording and record what the principle means to you and how it applies specifically to your life. THIRD: prayerfully agree with God to live according to the principle He has revealed to you. FOURTH: check up periodically to make sure you are living the principles you have discovered and have committed yourself to live by. Knowing God’s principles without living them is like living in poverty when you have unlimited reserves of cash in the bank.
THUS KEEP IN MIND THESE THINGS:
1B LEARN TO IDENTIFY PRINCIPLES: Know what you’re looking for.
2B EXPECT DISCOVERY Be positive when you search the Scripture, or listen to a message.
3B STAKE A CLAIM; Make God’s principles your own. Record them, claim them through obedience, invest them in your life. You’ll become spiritually wealthy.
Charles & Charity Whisnant